Monday, April 30, 2007

Why would we want to move to Belize?

I wrote this in response to the view of so many that only the "young" should move to Belize.

These are thoughts I am just throwing to the wind. If they come your way you may ignore them, but I want the wind to know I’m here.

I’ve had a good life, married to a wonderful man for nearly 50 years, two children, a girl and a boy, and 5 fantastic grandchildren. We’ve felt blessed to have always lived in the northwestern USA. I can look out the windows from the loft of our log home (which we built with our own hands) and see Mt. Bachelor in the Cascades. The lakes and mountains are only one-half hour away. This all feels like perfection, and I’m savoring the moments here, which must soon come to an end. I’ll note right here that we can no longer afford to live here, thus our home is for sale.

When we share our dream of moving to Belize, most people are fascinated, but skeptical. My goodness, surely we mean for a trip. At our ages! What if we get sick, what if we’re robbed, what if, what if!! Most folks our ages huddle together in silver haired groups, playing bingo and regaling each other with their latest ill and pill. Often minds slipping from lack of use. Those who can afford it and have better health, travel south in the winter, making the rounds of golf courses and campgrounds. Snow birds is an apt description, everyone moving as a like- minded flock, sharing tales of their favorite restaurant or where to find the best flea market. When are you going back north, Blah, Blah, Blah! I don’t mean to minimize the value of each person’s life and contribution, but for me, the thought of that existence makes me crazy.

Most compelling for us is the fact that we can’t afford to continue to live in our wonderful log home. A mortgage, insurance, property taxes and life in general means we both have to work. At this point, my heritage will be “mother of two and a really hard-working bookkeeper. Yippee!

Even if we sell and get a smaller life here, our contribution would be negligible. Not that I expect to shake up the world, but I would like to feel that I’ve made a statement and a contribution. If we can move to our little spot in Belize, we plan to build a Mennonite house and be able to afford to live on our Social Security. By living off-grid, our expenses should be minimal. By planting mahogany and teak trees on our 13 acres, we’re planting our grandkids inheritance, which is more than we could leave them here in the States. We can share with them the thrill of traveling outside their corner of the world and meeting other cultures. What better teacher than Belize, where so many cultures and colors mix with very little notice of the differences.

By trying to live “green” we hope to help Belize show the world how to live with the earth rather than destroying it. I'm also hoping we can learn more of the Mayan ways from some of our nearby friends. Here in the US, we've quit listening to anything but the sound of our own voices. The earth has so much to tell us.

Up here, in the land of take, use and throw away, it all seems too greedy. In Belize, even if your contribution is small, I feel you can make a difference. Not by making things look like the U.S., but with small contributions of books or supplies for schools or helping the true Saints like Nurse Juan of the Good Shepherd Clinic, we can make a small difference.

We hope to travel back to the U.S. to see family and keep our connection to this “home,” but for as long as we can, we hope our home will be Belize. It sounds trite, but age truly is a state of mind. I pray my little gray cells keep banging against each other, so my mind will keep working (altho’ many think I’m crazy already) and that both Art & I continue to be blessed with reasonably good health, so we can see this dream come to fruition.

To me, the lovely green jewel of Belize is more precious that all the diamonds in the world.

Gale (yes, my name means wind. appropriate)